Perfect Fried Egg Every Time

How many times have you had a fried egg with a tough, chewy white? Or, conversely, my least favorite version, a white that is overcooked on the bottom and gooey on top? This technique, which steams the top of the egg while cooking it from the bottom, works best. For several eggs, use a larger skillet.


  • 1/2 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat a small cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter and swirl it to coat the skillet. Immediately crack the egg into the skillet. Add the water to the pan, reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and cook for 1 minute. Remove the egg from the pan immediately. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
cook's note
Buying and Using Eggs: Eggs are a high-protein, versatile ingredient for any meal. They are one of the few ingredients (chicken and milk are two others) that I always buy organic. Reducing the consumption of hormones by boys seems right; they already have enough! If price is a consideration, I think you should scrimp elsewhere. Try to purchase eggs from a farmers’ market whenever you can. In the supermarket, I prefer cage-free eggs from naturally raised chickens; devoid of antibiotics and hormones, these eggs are tastier and more healthful. Brown, beige, white, or blue—all eggs have the same flavor. Flavor and texture are determined by freshness rather than by color of shell or type of chicken. The white of a fresh egg holds together when cooked instead of being watery and loose. A fresh yolk will be a deep yellow to almost orange, preferable to a pale yellow one. Still, any supermarket egg eaten within the sell-by date is a good food source for a busy home cook.

Most recipes assume the use of large eggs. Extra-large eggs can be substituted unless you are baking or making pastry, in which case the added volume will change the outcome. If you keep eggs in the fridge, the potential quick-meal options are endless: omelet; Spanish tortilla;frittata; taco; egg sandwich; scrambled, fried, soft-boiled, and hard-boiled egg; and poached egg on toast, to name a few.
Need help with the ingredients? Check our pantry list: